Richmond dancer, director on ‘upswing’ with film award win

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Richmond dancer, director on ‘upswing’ with film award win
Image contributed

By Kathy Chouteau

“Water Spirit,” a dance-for-camera aerial film by Richmond resident Cherie Carson, has been honored with an Outstanding Achievement Award in the category of Film on Nature/Environment/Wildlife from World Film Carnival-Singapore.

Carson, choreographer and artistic director of the Berkeley-based UpSwing Aerial Dance Company, co-directed the film with David Creech, with original music by Emmy winning composer Dan Cantrell. She said Water Spirit “is a kinetic tale of the mysteries inside a drop of water,” adding that “as icebergs melt and water transforms from frozen to liquid, its spirit dances.” Featured in the film is UpSwing aerialist, Helium Valentine, who performs an aerial dance within a large, suspended snow globe.

Water Spirit was born of reinvention during the pandemic, according to Carson, who said that the dance company was forced to shutter its classes, tours, workshops and performances in 2020.

Carson pivoted amid the business challenge, thinking that “if people can’t come to see UpSwing, we’ll come to their homes.” And thus, the dance company leapt down a new path creating dance-for-camera; to date they’ve made five dance films, which overall, have been selected for 39 festivals and 17 awards globally.

Upswing continues to create new dance-for-camera projects, even as it considers opportunities to perform again. “This new direction created by a shutdown is a silver lining in a challenging time,” said Carson.

Learn more about UpSwing Aerial Dance Company here.